Promoting Transfer and an Integrated Understanding for Pre-Service Teachers of Technology Education
The ability of students to transfer learning between subjects and contexts when problem solving is critical for developing their capability as Technologists and teachers of Technology. However, a growing body of literature suggests this ability is often assumed or over-estimated, and rarely developed explicitly within courses or degree programs. The nature of the problems tackled within technology are such that solutions draw upon knowledge from a wide range of contexts and subjects, however, the internal organisation and structure of institutions and schools tends to compartmentalise rather integrate these. Providing a knowledge base and range of strategies that enhance studentsΓÇÖ awareness of and skills in transferring learning may allow for a more integrated understanding to develop. The importance of developing this in a more explicit manner is heightened as trainee teachers will, in turn, be responsible for developing the similar capabilities of the children they go on to work with as professional teachers. This paper begins by considering problem solving in technology education and some of the issues associated with learning transfer. Thereafter, a framework and strategy for better integrating learning between courses is described and forms the basis for developments in an Initial Teacher Education degree program for Technology Education. Provisional data from evaluations and student work indicated a positive effect in enhancing trainee teachersΓÇÖ thinking and additional data in the form of questionnaires, interviews and student work help to explore this further. Finally, it is argued that the development framework and approach enhances their mental models of teaching and offers a significant step forward in promoting student teachersΓÇÖ transfer of future learning between subjects; something increasingly critical for 21st century STEM Education.
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